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Trending This Week: Website Heroes with Stock Images

by Caitlyn Hampton on April 14, 2017 No comments

You may have noticed recently that every website design is starting to look—well, quite similar. You’ve seen it before: a full-width website, with a full-width hero stock image or stock video, some short and clever H1 headline text centered over the hero, with a logo on the left, and a navigation bar on the right. Ring a bell? Now here’s the crazy thing—this is perfectly OK.

It may seem overdone, but users prefer familiar experiences across the web. As web design guru Steve Krug says, “Conventions only become conventions if they work.” And the truth is, this layout has proven itself effective by allowing users to navigate the site as easily and intuitively as possible. As a business owner or UX designer, you want to make it easy to engage new customers. Simply put, websites shouldn’t leave people scratching their heads and trying to figure out how to find what they want.

The formula is a simple one: with an eye-catching hero and an attention-grabbing H1 copy, you can communicate your brand and product—and users can navigate your website without interference. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out a few of our eye-catching designs made using stock images below.

 
Stock Images

Download the stock image used in this website design.

 
Stock Images

Download the stock image used in this website design.

 
Small businesses have a hard enough time acquiring new customers and expanding their reach as it is. As a web designer, it’s your job to make customer conversion as seamless as possible so your clients can make the big money. This design layout achieves just that.

 
What do you think of this design trend? Does it make you yawn or simplify your job? Whether you’re staying on trend or designing the next big thing, get all the hero images you need.

 

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Caitlyn HamptonTrending This Week: Website Heroes with Stock Images

Trending This Week: Impressionist Paintings in UI Design

by Caitlyn Hampton on April 7, 2017 No comments

Degas, Renoir, Monet—these are some of the greatest impressionist painters of all time, and their emotive paintings still inspire artists and designers to this day. But you probably wouldn’t expect impressionism to show up in stock images, would you? Well prepare to be surprised! In our new Future of Creativity Collection, imagination meets tech—and we’re adopting classic styles to make them something new: digital.

Impressionism is a style of immediacy and movement—of expression as much as representation. Its colors are vibrant, its brush strokes apparent. Modern artists take it to another level using heavily saturated color palettes and modern scenes.

Curious how you can use this trend in your designs? Check out how we allowed this night time cityscape to inspire our design with this music app concept.
 

Stock Images

Download the stock image used in this design.

 
Bring your designs into the modern age with sleek text treatment, heavy blurs, and less than opaque containers. Think contrast and contradiction—mix classic painting techniques with tech and let your imagination run amok. The color explosion can be contrasted with sleek design elements.

Now it’s your turn. Are you ready to let Monet and Manet back into your artist’s heart?
 

Explore Impressionist Art

 

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Caitlyn HamptonTrending This Week: Impressionist Paintings in UI Design

Tutorial: Create Simple, Stunning Floral Typography with Photoshop

by Maddie Stearn on April 6, 2017 No comments

Do you need seasonal, standout creative that leaves a lasting impression? Ad agency bigwigs and book publishers often rely on floral typography when they need bold, organic imagery—but with our straightforward tutorial, you too can add this advertising “secret weapon” to your arsenal.

Floral typography describes the design technique of layering text and floral images to create a multidimensional effect. Yet, the name can be a little misleading since we’re not talking about text made from flowers; the text just lives amongst the flora and fauna. The trend has even expanded beyond florals to include other foliage as well as abstract designs.

Businesses have latched onto the trend, and many spring design campaigns make use of floral typography. The technique varies widely from design to design, so businesses can easily diversify their materials. Small businesses need not cringe in fear; floral typography is pretty simple to replicate, and stock images make the entire process even smoother.

Anyone can master the floral typography trend with a little practice. Armed with this tutorial and stock images, small businesses can easily keep up with the big guns without breaking the bank.

To get started, check out our hand-curated gallery of stock floral images from the GraphicStock library.

 

Step 1. Create New Photoshop Canvas

Create a new canvas in Photoshop and paste your floral image onto the canvas (we used this stock bouquet photo). Resize as needed by clicking Command/Ctrl + T.

(For clarity, we named the layer with the flower image “Floral Layer.”)

floral typography

 

Step 2. Duplicate Layer

 

Right click on the Floral Layer and select Duplicate Layer. In this example, we named the new layer “Floral Layer copy.”

floral typography

 

Step 3. Add Layer Mask

 

Select the new layer and click the Add Vector Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.

floral typography

 

Step 4. Invert Layer Mask

 

Select the layer mask (not just the layer) and click Command/Ctrl + i to invert the layer mask. The layer mask icon will turn from white to black.

floral typography

 

Step 5. Draw a Rectangle

 

This step is optional, but framing your text can add a nice touch to the design.

Select the Rectangle Tool and draw a new rectangle. Use the Properties panel to adjust the fill and line colors, as well as the line thickness.

floral typography

 

Step 6. Move Layer and Adjust Opacity

 

Select your rectangle layer in the Layers panel on the right and move the rectangle between the “Floral Layer” and “Floral Layer copy”.

With the rectangle layer still selected, lower the opacity so that you can see both the rectangle and the flowers underneath it.

floral typography

 

Step 7. Paint

 

Make sure that your foreground color is set to white and your background color is set to black. To adjust these colors, simply click on their respective boxes and select the desired color.

Select the layer mask and then click the paintbrush tool. Begin painting over the areas of the rectangle that you want to erase. If you erase too much, simply hit the X on your keyboard and paint over the area you want to correct. Hit the X again to switch back.*

The hardest part is deciding which flowers should cover the rectangle. Try to pick flowers that are in the foreground (as opposed to the fuzzier flowers in the back). This will help add dimension to your design.

(*The X command switches the foreground and background colors. You paint with white to erase and black to correct.)

floral typography

 

Step 8. Add Text

 

It’s actually more efficient to add the text when you create the rectangle, but the order doesn’t really matter. Just make sure that, when you do create the text layer(s), you place them between the “Floral Layer” and “Floral Layer copy” just like we did with the rectangle layer.

Again, adjust the opacity on the text layers so that you can see both the text and the flowers beneath.

floral typography

 

Repeat Step 7

 

Use the paintbrush to erase/repaint pieces of text to make it look like the text and flowers are overlapping. This is a little trickier than the rectangle because you don’t want entirely cover any of the letters. Try to find where the letters overlap with stems and the edges of petals.

floral typography

 

Once you are done painting, your image is complete!

floral typography

 
There you have it! You’ll be a floral typography pro in no time. It just goes to show that with a little practice, and some stock photos, your small business can have a big impact—and while you’re at it, incorporate some Spring sunshine with these stunning floral stock photos.

 

Discover More Floral Images

 

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Maddie StearnTutorial: Create Simple, Stunning Floral Typography with Photoshop

Trending This Week: Geometric Illustrations and Grunge Textures

by Caitlyn Hampton on March 17, 2017 1 comment

With flat design being all the rage recently, it’s hard to find a digital design with texture and depth. But trends are always evolving and revolving, so it came as no surprise when we noticed a deviation from this new norm. This textured landscape illustration by Berin Catic caught our attention. It still uses similar concepts to flat design—simple geometric forms, distilled down from their complex shapes in reality—however, with one distinct difference: the use of grunge textures. We couldn’t help but notice that this style can be easily recreated using stock images.

 
Stock Images Using Grunge Textures

Download the grunge texture and landscape vector used in this design.

 
Stock Images Using Grunge Textures

Download the grunge texture and landscape vector used in this design.

 
To recreate Catic’s look, we used simple geometric shapes, added a grunge texture with the blend mode set to Soft Light, and finally added a color overlay with the blend mode set to Hue. You can color each shape differently; however, we chose to use a color overlay for a monochromatic look.

 
So what do you say—would you add texture to your illustrations or are you a flat design for lifer? Let us know in the comments and get started with your next work of art!

 

Discover Dimensional Grunge Textures

 

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Caitlyn HamptonTrending This Week: Geometric Illustrations and Grunge Textures

Our Spring Coloring Book—13 Stock Vectors That Turn Winter into Spring

by Caroline Mercurio on March 16, 2017 No comments

While it might seem like much of the world is still facing frost and snowstorms, the first day of spring is nearly here. To help celebrate the changing seasons—and the flowery foliage that comes with it—we’ve rounded up some of our favorite line art drawings from our library of stock vectors that truly capture this time of year.

What exactly makes these drawings so perfect for the first day of spring? Each image is a delicately drawn snowflake that—if you look closely enough—is entirely made up of flowers. (Metaphorical much?)

Best of all, the black and white line art style of these snowflakes make them ideal for coloring. And let’s be real, who doesn’t enjoy a chance to color every now and then? With Photoshop, it’s entirely mess-free—no crayons, markers, paints, or colored pencils to clean up after. Just pick your color and use that much-loved tool: the paint bucket.

Here’s an example of how we’ve colored one of these floral snowflakes.

 
Before:
Stock Vectors
 
 
And after:
Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

 
Not certain which colors to pick? We used a palette inspired by early spring blooms, like the warm yellows of daffodils and the vibrant purples of crocuses. Look to nature for your own inspiration—or make sure your choices are 100% on-trend and check out our guide to Pantone’s picks for this spring.

 
Try out your own palettes with these 13 floral snowflakes.

 
1.
Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

 
 
2.
Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

 
 
3.
Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

 
 
4.
Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

 
 
5.
Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

 
 
6.
Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

 
 
7.
Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

 
 
8.
Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

 
 
9.
Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

 
 
10.
Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

 
 
11.
Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

 
 
12.
Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

 
 
13.
Stock Vectors

Download this floral snowflake stock vector.

 
Pick your favorite or download them all—with unlimited downloads from our royalty-free library of stock vectors, the possibilities are endless!

 

Get Coloring

 

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Caroline MercurioOur Spring Coloring Book—13 Stock Vectors That Turn Winter into Spring

Trending This Week: Brutalist Web Design

by Caitlyn Hampton on March 9, 2017 No comments

If you thought you’d seen all the trends there could be by now, think again. There is a new design style in town—actually, it’s kind of old—and it’s making websites look bad. Known as brutalist web design, this “back to basics” trend is a reaction to the user-friendly, “too perfect” web pages that have overtaken the digital world as designers and browsers become more comfortable pushing their creative boundaries. Given the renewed popularity of brutalism, we beg the question: Can web design ever be too good?

To achieve this retro look all you have to do is forget everything you’ve ever learned about web design best practices. In brutalism, there really aren’t any rules. One of the key components is how easy it should be to code your web design in HTML. We took this as a hint to have some fun and go a little crazy with bright colors, fun stock vectors, and of course we can’t forget monospace fonts.

 
stock vectorsDownload the stock vectors used in this design.
 

The brutalist design style was originally an architecture movement from the 1950s through the 1970s, and it descended from the modernist movement. The aesthetic was about showcasing the raw concrete and not trying to gloss over how a building was actually made and structured. Brutalist web design boasts the same philosophy—don’t hide the structure of your website—or rather the HTML. It truly is web design at its core. Think Craigslist. No CSS, just functionality.

So, what do you think? Are you willing to jump on the brutalist band wagon or would you rather stick with more modern times?

While trends may come and go, if you’re looking for some amazing stock vectors for your next web design project, check out our 20 best graphics for web design.

 

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Caitlyn HamptonTrending This Week: Brutalist Web Design

Tutorial: Create Photoshop Brushes with Stock Images

by Maddie Stearn on March 5, 2017 1 comment

“If I can’t paint with real brushes, why should I paint with Photoshop brushes?”

The idea of painting in Photoshop can be daunting, especially if you gave up on watercolors in elementary school. But here’s a secret that your 5th grade art teacher never told you: Photoshop will help you fake it ‘til you make it. While this is probably not a great lesson to teach 5th graders, as adults sometimes we need to figure out how to work within our limitations.

Watercolors are popular graphic design trend, but in real life they’re messy and difficult to master. Budding graphic designers shouldn’t be discouraged; with stock images, you can create custom Photoshop brushes that will make it look like you know how to paint.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to quickly make several watercolor brushes in Photoshop using stock images and vectors. You can even use these same steps to make any custom brush.

 

Step 1. Pick Your Watercolors

 
You should have your watercolors ready before you begin the tutorial, so here are some stock watercolor images from the GraphicStock library to get you started.

 

Step 2. Convert Your Images to Black & White

 
Open your images in Photoshop, then add a black and white adjustment layer. You can also add a brightness/contrast adjustment layer to vary the depth of color. You should also make sure that the background is as white as possible.

We recommend adjusting the image size so that your bush doesn’t start out too large (but you can always play around with the brush size later). To adjust the image size, go to Image > Image Size.

photoshop

 

Step 3. Create the Brush

 
With the brush tool selected, go to Edit > Define Brush Preset. Name your brush, then click OK. Repeat this step for all of your watercolor images.

photoshop

 

Step 4. Test Your New Brushes!

 
Open a new Photoshop document and select the paint tool. Open the Brush Presets browser (go to Window > Brush Presets) and select any of your watercolor brushes. Adjust the brush size using the slider or using the bracket keys on your keyboard.

Finally, click once on the canvas. You do not want to click and drag because that will just create a large blob.

Now start experimenting! Switch among your new watercolor brushes while adjusting the color and size. In the next step, we’ll show you how to adjust the angle of the brushes to prevent the image from looking too patterned.

photoshop

 

Step 5. Adjust the Brush Angle

 
To simply flip your watercolor horizontally or vertically, go to the Brush Presets tab and check the Flip X and Flip Y boxes, respectively. You can also adjust the brush angle in this tab.

photoshop

If you want to add some more variation to the size and position of your brush, click on the Shape Dynamics tab on the left. Experiment with the sliders and start clicking on your canvas. If you adjust the Size Jitter, for example, the size of your brush will change every time you click on the canvas.

photoshop

When you’re done, you’ll have a custom watercolor painting! Pat yourself on the back and relish not having to clean up any paint.

Using these same steps, you can easily create any custom Photoshop brush. Or check out our hand-picked gallery of stock watercolor images to find more inspiration for your next Photoshop brush.

 

Brush Up with Stock Images

 

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Maddie StearnTutorial: Create Photoshop Brushes with Stock Images

Trending This Week: Designing With Purple

by Caroline Mercurio on March 2, 2017 No comments

Purple is one of the most interesting colors to work with, and it appears that the rest of the design world agrees. As the meeting point between warm red and cool blue, purple plays between the two tonalities to create countless colors in-between. You can mix a cool indigo by using a stronger dose of blue, or you can warm things up with a heavy dose of red. Even better, use several shades of purple together to keep your designs fresh and modern. No matter what hue you choose, this royal color always makes a bold statement.

Mustering up our courage, we decided to create our own eggplant-hued designs with stock images and an easy to achieve color overlay.

 
Stock Images

Download the stock images used in this design.

 

First we pulled our quote from one of our favorites by designer Sam Winston, “Design teaches you to study the voice rather than what to say.” Then to create this inspirational poster design, we simply downloaded our stock image of choice, added a shade of purple on top, and switched the color layer blend mode to multiply—play around with a variety of other blend modes like overlay, hue, color, etc. when creating your own design!

This season, designers are being fearlessly bold and not shying away from strong use of bright colors. We hope this post has inspired you to embrace the same level of bravery—and if you want to learn more about designing with color, check out our Color Theory 101 and our Visual Guide to Pantone’s Spring Colors.

 

Be Bold with Stock Images

 

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Caroline MercurioTrending This Week: Designing With Purple

21 Mesmerizing Stock Nature Photos Worth Sharing

by Jordan McElwain on March 1, 2017 No comments

One of the amazing things about stock nature photos is that they allow us to appreciate the beauty of the world through the eyes—and lens—of an artist. Sometimes all we need to think positively and feel inspired is a different perspective, so we’ve gathered 21 mesmerizing nature photos for you to share with your friends, family, and followers to give them a few friendly reminders from Mother Nature herself.

Pair these photos with cute quotes and inspirational advice to raise engagement levels on social media, download them and share them with friends and family when they need a pick me up, or choose some to create your own personalized stationery.

These beautiful nature photos are just a few of our favorites from the our stock images library. Download this set, then check out all of the awesome stock photos and graphics we have to offer.
 

1. This delightful frog will inspire you and your running buddy to hop back into your training.

tree-frog-nature-photo
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2. This photo will help you remember that there is beauty in life even when you can’t see it clearly.

stock nature image - foggy photo
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3. These frost-fighting leaves will remind you that anything is possible.

Stock nature photos - frosty leaves
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4. Sometimes you have to visit some place remarkable to enjoy things you may not normally enjoy.

Nature Stock Photos - iceberg in greenland
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5. This beautiful night sky is enough to make anyone want to go on a camping trip in the mountains to go stargazing.

Stock nature photos - space photos
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6. This serious clownfish can help you remember to just keep swimming through life because that anemone “Can’t touch this.”

nature photos - clownfish
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7. Sometimes if you are struggling with achieving your goals, you just need to “Let it go” like Elsa.

nature stock image - photo of cold frosty weather
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8. Try to visit new places and see new things.

stock nature photos - red rocks in southwest US
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9. Whether it’s going on a cruise or just staring at this beautiful photo of a sunset, find a way to escape when life gets stressful.

stock nature photo of sunset on the ocean
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10. Remember to stop and take things in every once in a while—like this amazing view.

nature stock photos - landscape images
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11. No matter how dark (and cold) things may seem, there is brightness just around the corner.

nature stock photos - sunflower field
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12. The more you explore, the more hidden gems you’ll find.

nature stock photo of a natural waterfall
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13.Learn to appreciate things even if you don’t understand them—like how a boat can float on water.

nature stock photo of a boat on foggy water
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14. There is something to enjoy in every season.

nature photos of fall leaves
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15. You have to get through the rocky times to enjoy the smooth ones.

nature stock photo - rocks on a beach
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16. Enjoy the company of others.

stock nature photo trees in a forest
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17. But remember to spend some time alone as well.

nature stock photo of a tree
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18. Each day is a new beginning–-don’t let the past hold you back.

nature stock photo of a sunrise on the beach
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19. Yellow isn’t just for gender neutral baby gifts.

nature stock photos - yellow flowers
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20. Remember that being different is what makes us beautiful.

nature stock photos - shells on a beach
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21.Remind your followers to get lost every once in awhile.

nature stock photos for wanderlust
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Nature is beautiful, and taking the time to stop and appreciate it will help you stay relaxed and inspired. Share these photos with your friends to brighten up their days.

 

Start Sharing

 

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Jordan McElwain21 Mesmerizing Stock Nature Photos Worth Sharing

Stock Yourself: How One GraphicStock Member Got YouTube Famous

by Caroline Mercurio on February 10, 2017 No comments

Sometimes it’s hip to be “stock-y.” Music videos used to cost thousands of dollars and required high-tech hardware and editing programs. But now in the age of low-budget DIY creativity, YouTubers like Joe Penna—known as MysteryGuitarMan on his channel—can make engaging videos with just a few stock images and a talented hand in Adobe Photoshop, all without ever having to leave their homemade studio. Joe’s specialty is bringing the absurd to life with animation, special effects, and music.

Take a look at “Stock Photo-shop” and see for yourself:

 

 

Joe’s music video for “Believer” by the band Paper Lions features stock photos from GraphicStock, with Joe lip-syncing the lyrics. He even made sure the lighting on his face matched the lighting in the photo. The well-paced video over the infectious tune was uploaded on December 15th and has garnered over 300,000 views so far. The video was well-received by subscribers, who have been anticipating a new video from Joe since his previous upload two months prior.

We love seeing projects that our creative community makes—from fun music videos by YouTubers like Penna to exciting designs like last year’s Creative Rewards winner. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to provide high-quality stock content that fits any creator’s budget. The possibility are endless!

 

Discover Stock Images

 

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Caroline MercurioStock Yourself: How One GraphicStock Member Got YouTube Famous